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Europeans Have Brought Thousands of Pounds of Ice to a DC Park to Make Americans Feel Bad

Those bright boxes in Farragut Square are there to remind us of our wasteful ways.
That's one cool box. All photographs courtesy of the European Union Delegation to the United States.

Have you recently found yourself in Farragut Square puzzling over what those two, brightly colored boxes standing side-by-side are? No, it’s not part of some avant-garde art display, and no, it’s not a new mini poke shop or pop-up bar. They’re just filled with ice.

Blame the Europeans. In another attempt to remind us Americans of our wasteful, consuming ways, the European Union and Belgian Embassy have teamed up for the Icebox Challenge.

It took 1,800 pounds of ice to finally make Farragut Square a chill scene.

Each structure is filled with 1,800 pounds of ice, but one is built to the International Building Code, which is used in most US jurisdictions, and the other to the Passive House standard, a highly energy-efficient method frequently used in Brussels.

The boxes will be opened July 20 to see which was able to stay cooler and retain the most ice. Presumably, the Passive House will have more ice left, at which point we’ll be reminded that Europeans do everything better and we can all go back to mindlessly wasting energy.

You can stop by to submit your guess as to how much ice will be left in each box at the end of the month. The winner will…receive a lifetime supply of ice? Smug self-satisfaction? EU citizenship? To be determined.

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Assistant Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and freelanced for PoPVille and DCist. She lives in Adams Morgan.